As a regular high school student, Kirishima Eijirou led as typical of a life as one would expect of a regular high school student. Though his friends would say that being on part of the school's nationals-ready basketball team, and the team captain to boot, was far from typical.
His friends constantly told him not to sell himself short, but in Kirishima's eyes he really wouldn't call himself extraordinary. He was just a forward; good at keeping up morale, decent at defence. He had to dedicate the better part of his days training just to keep with his certainly more extraordinary teammates. Like Shouji and Satou, the fantastic centres that made for strongholds of their defence, the pillars of their offence. Todoroki, who made for the most well-rounded forward that Kirishima had ever seen. Even Midoriya, who didn't seem to have the height for basketball, blew him and the team away with his strength training over the summer, leapt from the bench to the starting five with his technical skill and quick tactical thinking.
And Bakugou Katsuki, the explosive point guard prodigy. Unrivalled reflexes, agility, and game sense. Competitive to a fault, though never to the point that he'd invite a foul for it. He was a fireball on the court, the showstopping sportsman who practised every fast dribble, every around-the-back pass, every ball handling fake-away that had the other team's ankles breaking to slip in a beautiful shot. A beast on the court who didn't give up until the final buzzer, who never let up until he was breathing blood to get another point on the board, another win for the team.
Maybe he could be a bit of a ball-hog. Maybe he could get a little demanding, telling people where to move like it were chess, manoeuvring pieces on a board. But his plays never went amiss. Whenever he faced a tower of a opponent, he would only grin wide at the challenge. And when his shoes made a skid on the court, before he made a break down the length of it, sidestepped the defence, red eyes flashed when he signalled for the ball, Kirishima couldn't help but marvel at him. At how he commanded the eyes of the players, the spectators, his teammates when he roared with the high of a win.
"Or maybe," Kaminari said, interrupting Kirishima's lovestruck sigh over the lunch table. "Being very gay just runs in the Kirishima family."
Kirishima frowned. "How can it run in the family if I'm adopted...?"
"We know your dads," Sero said, slurping up the last of his noodles next to Kaminari across from him. "And we know you."
"Frankly, if you told me you weren't their flesh-and-blood son, I'd think you were straight up lying," Kaminari said matter-of-factly.
"Sure," Kirishima laughed. He fiddled with more of his sausage with his fork, his appetite having long faded. "It's not gonna happen though."
"I'm sorry, whomst?"
"Me and Bakugou, man," Kirishima said to Kaminari, tossing up his fork in a scoff. "It's a pipe dream. He'd never see me that way."
Kaminari and Sero shared a pointed squint. Delivered that pointed squint Kirishima's way.
"You've literally been to each other houses. You've seen his parents and lived to tell the tale," Kaminari said, putting both hands by his face for emphasis. Kirishima kept playing with his food, listening half-heartedly. "That's like, third base when it comes to Bakugou," he insisted, slapping Sero's arm with the back of his hand. "Bro, Sero, back me up here. Tell Kirishima he's a catch."
"Kirishima, you're a catch," Sero said, clasping his wrist meaningfully. Shook it a bit. "A big, beautiful, manly bass on a line. Like no other."
"One time, my mom saw a picture of you in the yearbook after I mentioned you coached basketball for grade schoolers?" Kaminari said, clapping Kirishima's shoulder. "She wanted to adopt you. Straight away. Wanted papers to get you in that sweet Kaminari registry. My father nearly penned you into his will, he did," he said, holding his pinched fingers up and squinted like a constipated Italian chef. "You are that magnetic, my near-brother."
"Thanks, Sero. And Kaminari, I think," Kirishima chuckled. Though he set down his fork with a more weary sigh. "But I dunno. I ask Bakugou to do a lot of that stuff for me, or with me," he said, shrugging.
"No wait, wait," Kaminari said. Grinned as he pointed between Sero and himself. "We actually practised this. Original Sero & Kaminari production, based on a true story. Ready?"
Kirishima blinked as Kaminari and Sero took in a synchronised breath.
"Oh man!" Sero said, his tone very stilted. He looked around aimlessly, pretending to wipe off sweat from his face. "What a workout, because I, Kirishima Eijirou, am so strong," Sero said, overly loud. Kirishima spat out a laugh. "I am. Quite thirsty!"
"Why're you thirsty after we worked out alone together, huh, you dumbass, huhhh?!" Kaminari yelled all of sudden, face screwed up ugly and furious. Kirishima nearly covered his face. "Drink this and not because it's an indirect kiss or anything but because the only thing ballers should thirst for is undiluted bloooooood!"
"Why thank you! Bakugou Katsuki!" Sero grinned. Then he put a hand to his cheek. "But oh man. I am really. Not ready for our literature exam? I have not memorised? Those quotes yet!" He slapped his knee. "Darn it. Whatever shall I, Kirishima Eijirou. Do?"
"Why the hell are you slacking off I'm going to annihilate your lack of knowledge with a bloody slaughterhouse of a tutoring sessionnn," Kaminari said, flexing his arms by his sides, grunting with flared nostrils, a picture perfect gorilla. "You're gonna get the best grades 'cause I'm the best but not better than me because I'm the best and we're gonna do this at my house because you're the only company I like that I don't wanna punch in the face unless it's a punch with my mouth against your mouth so softly because I like you but you can't see that even though I'm actually so in looooove."
"Oh, so you, Bakugou, will tutor me? Kirishima, a humble gay?" Sero said, patting Kaminari on the shoulder. Kirishima choked. "You really are the best. My fraternal compadre! So manly!"
"Hell yeah I'm the best but you know what's also the best your kindness because you like me too but I can't see it either even though you're bright like the goddamn sun that's why I squint so hard every day but also let's get lunch at that curry joint where I love to burn off my tongue all. The time," Kaminari growled, unhinging his jaw for maximum acoustic reach. "Merciless victoryyyyy."
Kirishima was clutching his sides, laughing without sound. Kaminari and Sero relaxed.
"And, scene!" Kaminari clapped his hands. "So, what'd you think? We think we really got the characterisation down—first time, no flames please."
"Concrit only," Sero added.
"Guys, holy shit," Kirishima wheezed, hyperventilating, needing to rub his tears from his eyes.
"Home run, huh?" Kaminari looked to Sero, grinning. "We've been green-lit!"
"We did good, dude," Sero said. "Electric Tape Studio's going places."
"I like that name literally so much better."
"Gotta pull my weight, don't I?"
"Guys, still," Kirishima said, forcing his breath to even out. "I think he just sees me as a friend, man."
"My man, friend," Kaminari said, sitting back down to face Kirishima head-on. Sero sat closer next to him, intrigued. "Do you remember when you told me you two played a three-on-three, during training the other day?"
"Yeah," Kirishima nodded. "I did."
"You were defending him, correct? There was a bit of an accident, and he fell on top of you."
"Hold up a moment," Sero said, looking between them. "I didn't hear about this."
"That's because I'm his favourite son—now," Kaminari said, holding his chin as Sero clutched his imaginary pearls in shock. "The matter at hand? Did it happen, yay or nay."
"Well, yeah," Kirishima scratched his cheek, eyes darting more to the side. "Sloppy footwork, it was my bad."
"Quote un-quote, Kirishima, quote un-quote," Kaminari said, pushing his fingers into a steeple. Gestured for him to fill in the blanks. "What did Bakugou say when he did that?"
"Yeah, damn, what'd he say when he did that?" Sero mumbled, drawn like a moth to the conversation's flame. He looked at Kaminari, brows rising. "This could be sequel material."
Kaminari nodded definitively. Gestured wider and, somehow, louder to Kirishima. Who bit his lip. Took in a breath.
"...'Holy shit, your arms,'" Kirishima said. Sero's brow rose. "Because his hands," He waved to the empty air. "Landed on my arms. When we fell."
"And, if I could remind the jury," Kaminari said, looking at Sero with a knowing nod. "Kirishima sustained no injuries, visible or otherwise. There was no reason to worry—we know how tough our boy is—and yet. Bakugou Katsuki, woefully bankrupt in fucks to give, said that. With his hands encasing Kirishima's well-muscled form!" Kaminari finished, clutching his own arms at the word 'encasing'. With a flourish of his hand, he indicated Sero. "The verdict, if you please."
Sero nodded, pouting. "That's pretty gay."
"That's what I've been saying!" Kaminari cried, slamming the lunch table passionately. "And our guy here thinks Bakugou's straight? Sure, if he's heading straight for Kirishima's heart. Population: one, because, plot twist, he's there already!" Primly he sat back, crossing his arms with pure confidence. "I rest my case."
"A director, an actor, and a lawyer," Sero said, shaking his head in disbelief. "Is there anything you can't do?"
"I don't know," he said solemnly. Stretched his arms back so his hands could cushion his head, contemplating. "I've never tested the full reach of my many," he sniffed loudly, "many abilities."
"You guys are idiots," Kirishima laughed. Calming down, a genuine smile crept onto his face. "Thanks."
"Eyy, there's my man, huh? That's more like it!" Kaminari cheered, knocking Kirishima's shoulder goodheartedly. Sero glanced aside, before his toothy grin grew in size.
"And here comes his man," he murmured.
Kirishima's head whipped aside at that. In the distance was Bakugou, navigating around lunch tables, hands lost in the pockets of his baggy basketball shorts, making his way towards his table with his signature scowl.
A grin exploded across Kirishima's face, his ribcage warming.
"Bro, you're not even subtle," Kaminari snickered.
Kirishima didn't even elbow him for that. He only beamed at Bakugou, whose eternal frown lightened into something more neutral when he came up to their table.
"Hey, Bakugou!" he said immediately, grinning wide at him. "What's up?"
"We got PE next and lunch is nearly over," Bakugou muttered. "Dragging your ass to get changed before you get us late again."
"Us!" Sero murmured to Kaminari. "He said 'us'!"
"What disgustingly cute couple doesn't use 'us'?!" Kaminari whispered back in conspiracy.
"Roger that!" Kirishima stood up, putting on his bag and picking up his tray with a smile. "I'm always real bad with time."
"Like I don't know that already?" Bakugou scoffed.
"Wait, they're not hearing us," Sero noted. He looked at Kaminari, his thumb pointing at Kirishima and Bakugou. "Can't they hear us?"
"Either the sheer power of their gay love has made them deaf, or," Kaminari whispered, grinning manically at Sero. "We've finally achieved the power of invisibility."
"No but, they'd still hear us if we were invisible though."
"Oh, bye guys!" Kirishima said quickly, spinning on his heel to face the table and Bakugou paused. They'd already been walking off. "Sorry I gotta run now."
"It wore off!" Kaminari breathed in awe, clutching Sero's shoulder. "And here I thought I finally experienced what it was like to be a void. Or Hagakure trying to get Ojiro's attention."
"It's cool, man. Wouldn't wanna be late for PE," Sero said good-naturedly, while trying to peel off Kaminari's grip on his arm. "You guys have fun."
"Stay safe!" Kaminari cried. "Use protection!"
"For what?" Kirishima asked, lowering a brow. Bakugou's eyes flashed murderously from behind him. "You don't need protective gear for basketball."
"What he means is for you two to play safe!" Sero followed up promptly, while Kaminari mumbled 'oh my sweet summer child'. "It's all fun and games until one of you gets hurt!"
"Or an STD," Kaminari considered.
"Should not have given you my chocolate milk."
"Fuckin' idiots," Bakugou spat, face red from either fury or embarrassment as he grabbed Kirishima's arm. "C'mon!"
"Wait, Baku—" Kirishima stuttered, stumbling as he stormed off with him in tow. Trying to keep up his balance, he waved back at the table. "See you guys!"
"Are you telling me Mr. Explodokills has our boy whipped and wears the pants in the relationship?!" Kaminari cried, luckily just when said couple went just out of earshot. "What will happen to our family...?!"
"You need a timeout, my sugar-high friend," Sero said, patting him on the back as Kaminari slumped against him, fake-wailing into his shoulder.
Kirishima laid in bed, staring idly at the basketball he was shooting above his face. Up in the air, then thudding back in his hand. Up then down, up then down.
He'd finished his homework. Did his daily workout. Played a bit of Pokemon on his 3DS. Texted his friends for a while. He would've even gone to chat with his parents, but both his dads were out: one called for work at the gym, the other for his weekend calligraphy class.
Another up, down, up, down, before he caught the ball. Hugged it to his chest in a loud huff. Strips of sunlight draped lazily over his body, stretched along the walls high and thin. He really didn't have much to do today.
You could text Bakugou, Sero had suggested earlier. He didn't even need a snap to see the toothy grin on his face while he said it.
Kirishima covered his face with both hands, groaning while it grew warm. He didn't need thoughts of Bakugou—rough, grumbling, athletic, intelligent and unfairly attractive—when Kirishima wouldn't even see him on the weekend.
Suddenly he kicked himself out of the bed, taking off his jersey to change into comfortable, white shirt and red cargo shorts for going outside. Checked the charge on his phone before opening the family group chat, admiring the slightly blurry picture of his dad's latest calligraphy passage before he sent a text.
nice calligraphy dad !!
just letting you and baba know im gonna go for a walk
kirishima hiroki -
thanks son! I still have a long ways to go though!
He added a flexing arm emoji. Kirishima chuckled, getting himself a glass of water before the typing icon came up again.
- kirishima hiroki -
it's too nice of a day to be cooped up at home
have fun on your walk! :D
Did you do your homework Eijirou?
did my extra reading too
Careful for rain if you plan to stay out long.
- kirishima hiroki -
you always think it'll rain love
dad's got a point
it's so sunny out too
It's the rainy season.
Only a matter of time before it pours.
Your calligraphy's more winsome by the day, Hiroki.
- kirishima hiroki -
I was wondering when you were going to comment on it!
Like someone I know. :)
- kirishima hiroki -
you sap <3 <3
I only tell the truth. <3
Kirishima rolled his eyes in a smile as he pocketed his phone, not bothering to remind his dads that flirting was supposed to be off-limits in the family chat before he pocketed his keys and left the house.
With phone, money, and keys in his pocket, Kirishima wandered around the city for an age. He let his feet take him through roads that wound round malls, residential areas, street stores that sent the smell of fish and meat wafting in the warm summer air. With his legs on auto-pilot his mind wandered too. To the new movie that peppered the streets in posters and trailers, a new move he wanted to practise for another basketball play, wondering about how the current arcs for his favourite manga would turn out in the next issue of Jump.
And, of course, he thought about how many of those things he could see and do with Bakugou.
Kirishima sighed at the sky, hands burrowing deeper into his pockets as he kept walking. It didn't help that Bakugou had fantastic grades, an athlete's body, or that Kirishima was the only one he would act friendly with. Or willingly breathe the same air as him off the court, more like.
But everyone told Kirishima that Bakugou liked him, too. When he helped tutor him, played one-on-one matches outside of practice, even grabbing food after training with him. Outside of the basketball team, any of Kirishima's friends who he told about his crush (which was all of them) egged him to ask Bakugou out.
But Kirishima couldn't afford to be so selfish. No matter how his contribution to the team weighed up against his teammates', as their captain he had to think about how'd they play together. It was a miracle to get Bakugou from yelling himself hoarse at Midoriya to acting civil because of their rivalry in chemistry class. Who knew how Bakugou would view a romantic entanglement with another teammate, given how he wanted nothing in the way of his basketball.
Kirishima scoffed at himself. Scuffed the heel of his shoe along the pavement. As if it were only about their basketball for him. As if their friendship didn't hang in the balance. As if every laugh, smile, and snicker wasn't hard-won, wasn't able to slip away into uncaring snarling again. As if Bakugou wouldn't toss him away at the drop of a hat if he messed up on court—
"Stop it," he hissed at himself. His fists clenched painfully in his pockets. "Stop it."
He rubbed his forehead with the heel of his palm, sighing tiredly, the painful knot in his chest loosening. He often had this problem with putting himself down, the voice in his head making the noise louder and fuzzier till it spilled out of him. In a grotesque tightening of his fingers, a pained gurgling from his throat. Pitiful memories of his middle school, where he was less than nothing, a friendless water boy for the basketball team would come back up to haunt him, and he'd have to drag himself back to the present.
Kirishima clapped his cheeks till it echoed around the neighbourhood, the empty sidewalk. He shook his head like a dog shaking off water, fists clenched with determination as his cheeks stung red.
"Happy thoughts. Happy thoughts!" he chanted to himself. Plops sounded from the tiles of rooftops. "You're out on a walk, and it's a beautiful day! Think of nothing but happy—"
A raindrop splashed onto his nose. He blinked, taken aback as he looked at the sidewalk going speckled with rain.
A roll of thunder growled over the horizon. The sky bloomed grey.
Lost and soaked to the bone, Kirishima felt strangely at peace.
His order-brand hair gel stood no chance against the sheets of rain that started pouring down. For the fourth time he pushed his waterlogged hair out of his face, blew away water that coursed past his lip, moved against his clothes that clung cool and water-heavy to his body. Blinking the monsoon from his lashes, he could already see Baba raise his brows at him. His silent 'told you so' as he tried to make his way through a barely familiar locale.
"Bus stop, bus stop," Kirishima muttered to himself. The static of the rain nearly drowned out his own voice. "Gotta be one around here somewhere."
For all the strangers he walked past in the inner parts of the city, the street he trudged along was lined with apartments in the suburbs, bare save for the sluicing rain. The view ahead of Kirishima was dark, blurry grey, the hazy headlights of a few cars that drove past occasionally snaking through the thundering monsoon.
Around a bend, the street finally stretched out clearer in front of him, lakes of puddles collecting just beside the pavement. For the first time in a few minutes of wandering, there was another person on the street: walking the same way as him, a ways in front with a deep red umbrella, the raindrops battering against it making it almost glow with a white aura.
Just as he was considering going up to ask the person for directions, the sound of a truck splashed behind him.
Kirishima looked back at the truck. Then down the street both he and it were headed. The street that held the massive puddle lying in wait, by the person with the red umbrella who noticed nothing.
His body moved before his mind did.
The sounds of his trainers thumping wetly against the sidewalk dimly reached his ears. Shielding his view from the rain with his arm, he ran as fast as he could without tripping. The truck's headlights in his periphery as a warning, the glowing red umbrella grew larger in Kirishima's field of vision.
Just as the truck cast a tidal wave onto the pavement, Kirishima threw himself by the stranger. Held his arms out and shut an eye as a tsunami of rainwater hit his legs, even splashed some on his chest before the length of it passed by, water flowing off him in streams.
Sucking in a breath, he turned around, grinning wide and sheepish.
"Thought I wouldn't make it in time," he joked to the stranger, opening his eyes.
Only it wasn't a stranger, but Bakugou with earphones in and a hoodie. Who stared at him with his jaw open, holding his glowing umbrella.
"Bakugou!" Kirishima's eyes went wide. Suddenly he was acutely aware of how drenched he was, how spontaneously warm he'd gotten despite the chilling rain. "W-What are you doing here?"
"I—fuck, I'm on my way home, I fucking live around here," Bakugou said, words tripping out of his mouth. "Never mind that though, shit, you're goddamn soaked!" he yelled, eyes screaming with concern. "Why the hell are you out in this weather?!"
"I was," Kirishima said. He pushed the hair out of his face in disbelief, his thin shirt dragging along his skin as he did. Bakugou's chin dimpled at that, his pale skin darkening to pink. "I was out on a walk."
"Out on a—?! Fuck, screw it, you probably didn't check the weather before going out, you colossal dumbass...!"
Kirishima watched, stunned as Bakugou muttered furiously to himself. Took off his earphones, violently shrugging off his hoodie with one hand with his other held his umbrella.
"Wait, Bakugou," Kirishima held out a hand while Bakugou finally managed to take off his hoodie, clad in a black tee with skulls on the shoulders as he held the stick of his umbrella at his armpit. "Don't take that off, you'll catch a cold—"
"If I get a cold from this then you're gonna get fuckin' pneumonia!" he yelled, nearly beside himself. He stepped closer, the umbrella shielding the both of them as Kirishima sucked in a breath at how close Bakugou's face had gotten, how roughly he wrapped his jacket around Kirishima's shoulders. "I can't fuckin' believe this, you goddamn moron!"
"Bakugou," Kirishima said. Thinking about just earlier, the Bakugou he imagined wouldn't even cast a second glance his way, was a breath's distance away, giving him his jacket in the pouring rain.
"You wanna get sick from drowning out here?!" he yelled, face glowing red against the dismal grey. His hands pulling the jacket sides tight. "Walking around without even a raincoat, just a fuckin' white shirt and pants like—like you're just—!"
"Bakugou," Kirishima said. Thinking about all the private, secret glances Bakugou sent his way when they were together. Out of the corner of his eye but Kirishima didn't dare to let himself to hope, didn't dare to risk losing what he would never have had in middle school.
"Fuck! Fuck, you goddamn idiot!" Bakugou kept yelling, his face blotched ruddy. Eyes resolutely cast down, like he could feel Kirishima's soft gaze brush over him and couldn't face it.
"Bakugou," Kirishima said. Thinking about how many times that had happened between them like they were both afraid. Like they both felt the same. The dam inside him, every time Kirishima looked at him, went on the verge of breaking.
"We're getting your ass dried at my house," Bakugou declared, while Kirishima thought of how bravery in the face of fear was the mark of a real man, how a man always had to risk something to attain anything that mattered to him. "And if you fuckin' try and tell me you don't wanna be a nuisance I fuckin' swear—"
He thought of how middle school Kirishima wouldn't ever have dared to risk anything, as his hands wrapped slow around Bakugou's wrists.
"Bakugou," Kirishima said. Softer yet so much clearer, he could hear his own heartbeat.
"God!" Bakugou spat, finally looking Kirishima in the eye. Face glowing like a lighthouse in the dark, and Kirishima was a little tugboat whose heart tossed along a grey, rocky sea. "What the hell is i—"
Kirishima couldn't see his reaction when he dipped his head in. Because he closed his eyes when his lips brushed wet and cool against Bakugou's dry and warm. He couldn't see Bakugou's eyes blow wide when he leaned his feather-touch into a firm press, his thumbs rubbing slow lines on the thin skin of his wrists.
He barely heard Bakugou's noise of surprise in the din of the rain. Barely caught it melting into a long, bone-deep sigh as he felt Bakugou's palm brush hot and gentle along his jaw, burrowing itself at the wet roots of his hair. Gripping with quiet urgency as Bakugou kissed back, the slide of his lips making Kirishima's pulse skip a beat. He sparked a hearth warming Kirishima's heart, his neck, his face as his hand floated up to Bakugou's cheek. Smooth beneath his thumb as he pulled away in a soft smack, in a quiet breath.
"Dammit..." Bakugou whispered. Kirishima barely opened his eyes to see Bakugou's scrunched and watery. His cheeks dimpling. Brow knotting. Voice wobbling. "Eijirou."
The rain transformed into warm relief, into electric courage as Kirishima let out a winded groan. Washed over him from head to toe as he tilted his head leaning back in, meeting Bakugou halfway as their mouths parted together, pressed against each other. Lips slotting in the soft gaps between making him sigh as Bakugou fisted his jacket collar, kissed him deeper. Umbrella canting more and more off-kilter as droplets glanced off the ends of Bakugou's hair, dripped on his face they pulled each other closer.
Flashes of lightning blinked the world white. Thunder crackled along the skies, shaking the heavens with a resounding boom that pulled the two apart. But they still stayed only a whisper apart. Panting slowly as Bakugou quietly righted his umbrella.
Kirishima laughed softly, his heart racing.
"Will you go out with me?" he murmured. Chest shaking, smile fluttering. Eyes shining. "Katsuki?"
"What the hell do you think?" Bakugou grumbled. Pulling the hood over Kirishima's head while Kirishima laughed again. "As if I could get any more fuckin' obvious."
"You know me, how dense I can get," Kirishima shrugged, smile splitting his face. "You're going out with me..." he said, giggles taking over him. He stretched his neck looking up, letting the rain wash over his face, a leap from floating away as he laughed aloud towards the sky. "Bakugou Katsuki's going out with me...!"
"Shut the hell up, the fucking neighbours will hear...!" Bakugou whispered furiously, face stained red. "Close your mouth before you choke on rain!"
"I like you!" Kirishima said. Announced to the rain white world as only Bakugou looked on, spluttering. "I love you, Katsuki...!"
"Fuck..." Bakugou growled. Face screwed up in disbelief, embarrassment, a desperate emotion that took hold of him with Kirishima's brilliant smile. "Goddammit! I love you more...!" he yelled at him, gripping his hand in his, going red to his neck as Kirishima laughed like a bell still. "Fuck...!"
He cursed as he pulled Kirishima close. Cursed as Kirishima followed soaking wet, an absolute fool's smile on his face. Chimes of laughter dripping from his lips as he dragged him home, his red umbrella glowing in the rain.